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Department of Physics

Physics Undergraduate Program:  General Information


The Department of Physics provides four varieties of its Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program:

Physics Minor is also available for students working toward a degree in other fields.

The Bachelor of Science degree is recommended for those students planning to work in industry immediately upon graduating, or for those students who wish to pursue graduate studies in Physics.   Students interested in Secondary Education Teacher Certification should complete the standard B.S. in Physics and subsequently enroll in a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program.

Physics is a study of the universe and of the laws that govern the interactions within it.  Students of physics develop images or descriptions of the universe using mathematical and conceptual models that are continually revised in the light of new observations and discoveries.  These models also help to predict properties of nature that have not yet been observed.  Students will study classical physics (the Physics of Newton and Maxwell), Einstein’s theory of relativity, Bohr’s theory of the atom (which forms a bridge between classical physics and modern Physics), and modern physics, including quantum theory and atomic and statistical physics.  Throughout their study of Physics, students learn skills and applications that can lead to a variety of career choices.

The Physics Department maintains teaching and research laboratories in which students develop measurement and data-analysis skills.  Seniors develop individual research projects suited to their interests.  The department provides experimental research opportunities in the areas of nonlinear optics, nonlinear optical properties of materials and holographic data storage, ultrafast spectroscopy, electro-optical properties and phase transitions of liquid crystal composite materials, studies of the photon yields of scintillating optical fibers, the magneto-optic Kerr effect, eclipsing binary stars & exoplanet research, and biophysical characterization and 3D structure determination of proteins using x-ray crystallography, molecular biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry, molecular docking, and computational modeling.  The department includes Physics Education Research specializing in studying problem-solving in physics; implementing and developing novel and inquiry-based curriculum, and developing reliable and valid assessments.  The department also maintains a supercomputer cluster used for modeling and computational physics research, a fully automated and remotely controlled state-of-the-art observatory, and a high power x-ray and multiple laser facilities.  See also our Physics Career Opportunities page.


Revised 2018 May 15
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